Difference Between Biomagnification and Bioaccumulation


The process of a buildup of certain chemical substances or toxins at the higher trophic levels of a food chain is termed Biomagnification. This is also referred to as biological magnification. The chemical substances include certain toxins, heavy metals, mercury and other harmful products at a higher concentration. As these substances increase and accumulate, it moves up in the food chain. When these contaminated substances are consumed by different levels of organisms in a food chain, it results in severe health hazards.

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The process of accumulating toxic chemicals such as pollutants, pesticides and other toxins directly into the human body either through the air, water, food intake, or directly through the skin is termed Bioaccumulation. As this toxic compound accumulates within the human body, it increases the risk of chronic poisoning and other severe health disorders.

Lets us have a look at the differences between Biomagnification and Bioaccumulation

Biomagnification and Bioaccumulation – Differences

An increased concentration of a toxic chemical, the higher an animal is on the food chain. Accumulation of a toxic chemical in the tissue of a particular organism.
An increase in the level as one moves higher in the food chain. An increase in the concentration of a substance inside an organism
Level of concentration of pollutant
An increase in the concentration of pollutants as they move from one trophic level to the next. An increase in the concentration of a pollutant in an organism.
Food Chain
Biomagnification takes place between two given trophic levels. Bioaccumulation takes place or occurs within a given trophic level
The transfer of pollutants and other absorbed toxins from the microscopic aquatic organisms into the small fish, which are later consumed by the larger fish and other aquatic animals. Buildup or accumulation of mercury in fishes and other aquatic animals.

This concludes some basic differences between Biomagnification and Bioaccumulation. Stay tuned with BYJU’S Biology for more differences and other Biology related topics.

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